The celebrations will include eight new commissions that will go on display across the UK – with John Akomfrah’s Tropikos available to see at Arnolfini in Bristol (until Sunday 10 April).
The eight artists who are creating new work for the celebrations are: John Akomfrah, Hurvin Anderson, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Ryan Gander, Mark Leckey, Katie Paterson, Heather Phillipson and Keith Piper. Each of the commissions will open at venues across the UK throughout 2016, before becoming a permanent of the Arts Council Collection, where they will be available for museums and galleries nationally and internationally.
John Akomfrah’s Tropikos opens today at the Arnolfini in Bristol and is an experimental 16th century costume drama that focuses on the waterways of South West England and their relationship to the slave trade.
In addition the Arts Council Collection has also announced that there will be two touring exhibitions in its anniversary year. Night In the Museum (16 July – 16 October 2016), curated by artist Ryan Gander, will open at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 16 July (until 16 October 2016). The artist has selected a number of sculptures with an active gaze, positioning them in the gallery so that they can observe major examples of modern and contemporary British art.
Meanwhile, Drawing from Life: People on Paper, will open at The Collection in Lincoln on 26 February (until 17 April 2016) before touring, will bring together some of the finest drawings in the Arts Council Collection, from the beginning of the early twentieth century to the present.
Jill Constantine, Head of the Arts Council Collection, said: “The Arts Council Collection may be 70 years old but never has it felt so young, vibrant and exciting. Our 70th anniversary commissions demonstrate what we do best – putting artists at the heart of the Collection. We are thrilled that the artists, half of whom are joining the Collection for the first time, will all be represented by such significant pieces.”
Established in 1946, the Arts Council Collection was set up to promote and enrich people’s knowledge of contemporary and modern art, supporting British artists and artists resident in the UK through the purchase and display of their work.
Details of the other artists taking part in the 70th anniversary commissions are as follows:
Somerset House, London, 27 April – 22 May 2016
Paterson’s commission will be a mirror ball comprising images of nearly every solar eclipse that’s been documented by humankind; through drawings and since photography began, including the oldest solar eclipse drawings from hundreds of years ago, and the earliest 19th century photographs, to images from the most technological advanced telescopes now. The commission is part of Somerset House’s Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility – four seasons of events, exhibitions and new commissions celebrating the idea of Utopia to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s influential text.
Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, 15 May – 13 August 2016
Leckey’s commission will be a video and immersive sculpture inspired by a found photograph of a man wearing a Mickey Mouse costume at Disneyland. The film continues Leckey’s video making tradition, made famous by works such as Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore.
Plymouth Arts Centre, 24 June – 20 August
TRUE TO SIZE will be a suite of digital-sculptural ‘outfits/vignettes’ generated through, and augmenting, her video and installation work.
New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 2 July – 18 September
Anderson’s works are drawn from personal experience. Many of his paintings explore sites of leisure where the mind is free to wander, being in one place whilst thinking of another – often alluding to his Caribbean heritage. He is making a new painting for the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary which will premiere at NAE as part of a major new survey show.
Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 16 July – 16 October
As old as time itself, slept alone will be part of Gander’s series modelled on Degas’ ballerinas. The ballerina will be accompanied by a 1m square blue cube which she will be sheltering beneath. The new work will be part of Night in the Museum, the exhibition of figurative sculptures from the Arts Council Collection that Gander is curating as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations.
Bluecoat, Liverpool, 29 Oct 2016 – 22 Jan 2017
Unearthing the Banker’s Bones (2016) will comprise of three synchronised video projections in high definition. Alongside the film, remnants of the film’s production will be displayed as physical evidence playing off against the unfolding narrative of the video. The commission is in partnership with the Institute of International of Visual Arts (Iniva) and the Bluecoat.
MARVIN GAYE CHETWYND
Venue to be announced
Here She Comes will be a setting for live performances and a stand-alone sculptural installation. Two aluminium box frames – each four metres high – will act as stages, and in front of these will stand parallel folding screens. The panels of the two screens will be embedded with View-Master stereoscopes – self-contained viewing boxes housing miniature tableaux vivants relating to the live performances of Here She Comes.